Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Domainers in Africa: Garvin Durni

Africa needs some inspirational stories on domaining success; the attitude so far has been that of domaining is a Western business, the internet dynamics in Africa are not sufficient to sustain the "sophisticated" domaining industry. Very few African ccTLDs make it to the domain aftermarkets apart from South Africa's .co.za. This means that businesses in Africa still have not grasped the value of domain names in e-marketing/e-commerce, in lowering your adwords campaign budgets and the effort and budgets you put in SEO, in giving you very quality and relevant traffic almost from nowhere!

Gavin Durni
 There are people in Africa who have built successful domaining businesses and this week I will profile a guy from South Africa, Gavin Durni. South Africa is always a country of great inspiration. It brings the feeling of possibility, it's possible! As the brand campaign says. If it can be done in the developed world, then it can be done in South Africa; if it can be done in South Africa then it can be done in the rest of Africa.Simple as that. It's possible. Gavin Durni has built a successful domaining business down South specializing in the .co.za namespace. His company Durni Companies LLC was formed in 2006 and its internet operations specialize in monetizing direct navigation traffic from domain name portfolios by means of pay-per-click advertising. But that's just the tip of the iceberg, in 2010, Gavin sold fly.co.za for $65,000, the biggest .co.za sale ever reported. he has also wrapped up some 5 figure domain sales in .co.za

Gavin's specialties are in domain name monetization, domain name acquisition, SEO, web development, e-commerce, PPC advertising, Adwords Campaign Management and Conversion Tracking according to his Linked In Profile, skills, many will tell you, are requisite for a successful domaining business.

Durni Companies,LLC is one of the biggest players in the .co.za domains in South Africa. It's important to note that Durni has focused on the .co.za domains instead of the beaten path of the .coms. This could be due to the stature of the .co.za whose value has been on the rise in the last few years and the availability of generic domain names that were still available in the .co.za domains. They are also quite cheap and can be acquired for as low as $10 unlike other African ccTLDs with the 'ridiculosity' of their prices, regulations and restrictions. It's impractical for African Domainers to for example build successful domaining businesses around domains that cost upwards of $90 per domain, that's ridiculous!

"Domain name registration is a leading indicator in terms of internet economy growth of a registry. These are all very attractive factors when it comes to domain development and acquisition; it is actually becoming very difficult to buy premium domains for good prices which is a direct indication of supply and demand. This has also attracted many speculators to the market, as well as international venture capital money to start up internet businesses in South Africa.” Durni said in an earlier interview with mybroadband.co.za

“Most domain research and selection is based on keyword research and keyword value, which is based on factors such as local search volume and the industry the keyword or domain name pertains to.” Durni said that they monetize their domain names by selling advertising on them as well as developing them into websites and partnering with others to create businesses.

“The real value being the SEO and the ability to rank quickly in search engine rankings to reduce pay-per-click and other online advertising budgets. Once websites have been developed, we either continue to run these as businesses or sell them off.” he said.

Durni's Advice: “Having a very specific search term pertaining to your business is essential to SEO, which leads to more traffic, more leads, more sales, and thus more business.”

I think Durni's example should be  a good case study for building successful business in the domain industry although my heart goes to those aspiring African domainers living in countries with stupid ccTLD regimes, countries I will not mention for now. But there is a lot of promise in the Kenyan ccTLD market, if only KENIC could lower the prices of the .co.ke a little bit! Kenyans owning those generic keyword domain names should also consider parking or listing those domains on Sedo, you never know who might approach you with the offer of a lifetime. Nigeria also looks good as well as Somalia's .SO although it's relatively new and might take some few years before search engines build some trust in the ccTLD. South Africans are much better placed to build successful domaining businesses but watch out for Kenya; it will be Africa's next rising star! Another future option will be the dotafrica Domain that's being led by DotConnectAfrica, which will be a domain name for the entire African continent.

Next week, I will profile more Africans who have built successful domaining businesses.